Monday, May 23, 2016

Change is Possible


Something that I really felt strongly this week is that because of the
atonement that Christ performed for us, we can change. As seemingly
stuck in old habits as we might think we are, there is nothing that
Christ can't, if we let Him, change and make into a beautiful work of
art. I've seen it in my life, on my mission, and in the lives of
others. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live, and they are helping us
become the best people we can become.
 
Some delicious food that my companion Elder S. made




Scripture of the week is Isaiah 53:3-5, "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." Kanji of the week: 気象学 pronounced "key-show-gah-coo" and means meteorology Monday was busy just because it was my first in Odate. We had fun, and in the evening we did lots of housing. Tuesday we had service, which was drying old people's hair and serving them drinks. It was fun. The rest of the day was spent finding.

Hamburgers at a restaurant after district meeting
Wednesday we went to visit a less active, and he was nice, but a little hard to talk to. Then we went and had a lesson with an investigator, and he was really good. He's progressing, and he's said he recognizes a change in himself since starting to meet with the missionaries. We did some more finding, and then went to a members house for family home evening. He's a great member, and has a great testimony. English class was fun too, and we had lots of people come. Thursday we had weekly planning, and did lots of finding before going to an investigator's house and having a great lesson with him. He is really close to accepting the church, and we're doing all we can to help him. Friday we went up to Hirosaki for district meeting. It was fun, and I learned a lot. We got back, finished studies, and then went to find more investigators. We did find one, and she seemed like a very genuinely interested person. But, since she's a woman, we passed her to the sisters to teach. After that we went to another investigator's house and had a great lesson with him too. He's really accepting what we are teaching, and is a really nice man.
One of MANY dog statues in Odate
Saturday we went to find more investigators, and we succeeded again! We went housing in two areas, but after no success in those areas, we went to a new area. On the way there we stopped to high school kids, and talked about the purpose of life, God, and taught them how to pray. We have another appointment with them this week. Then we got another investigator when we were housing. It was really awesome. English class is twice a week here in Odate, and so we had that then. It was fun, but not too many people came this time. Sunday was great, and I loved the chance to partake of sacrament. I also got to see some members from Hachinohe, who came because it was branch conference. A lot of our day was spent in meetings and other things with counselor duties, and also studies. We tried to have a lesson with an investigator, but he wasn't home, despite making an appointment. We housed near by, and got to talk with some people, but not too many people were interested. That's my week. Hope you didn't die reading all this! I love you all! Love, Elder 長老
Elder C. is holding up a snack called Takenoko, a mushroom looking snack with a cookie base and chocolate top.
There is a big debate between these and "Kinoko" (chocolate covered cookies shaped like bamboo shoot tops that 
look like pine cones) which is similar to, if not more fierce than Coke versus Pepsi in
America.
 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Odate

Apparently there was a baptism before his transfer, although Alex didn't get to perform it I assume since he's not the one in 
white baptismal clothes. Baptisms are very rare there so I'm glad he sent photos, but he didn't say a single thing about it.



 
In his new area of Odate, there is only one Melchizedek priesthood holder and he is the branch president. Alex is the second 
counselor in the branch presidency so he's getting some cool new experiences there I'm sure. 

I asked about his new companion and he gave me the info below and even included his birthday. Finally he tells me that before 
I have to ask. I always ask. 

Elder S. came in at the same time as Elder A. Both his parents are
Japanese, and He was born in Sapporo, where he lived for three years. 
Then they moved to Provo for schooling, and then from there to Chicago, 
where he grew up. He knows both languages fluently. He loves anime, and 
especially reading Japanese comics. We have a lot in common, and get 
along very well. He's an extremely hard worker.
 
 
 
I told Alex that I felt bad that for his graduation trip, we only went to Canada (although we loved it!) while we're going 
to Australia for Elisa's graduation trip. I did mention how he is living in Japan, his dream trip, even though he isn't a 
tourist. This was his reply:
 
I can't be mad that you're going to Australia for her trip, because 
you're paying a lot more for me to be in Japan, and I feel like it's a 
better deal. I get to draw closer to Christ--and help others to do the 
same--in the Land of the Rising Sun. What else could I ask for? I hope 
you have fun in Australia. For the time that you're in Brisbane, you'll 
be in the same time zone as I am, I believe. That will be weird! 
 
I'm not sure who this missionary is. It's probably one of the missionaries who lived in his apartment.
Pretty, but I don't know the name of this place.

This is Alex with his former companion.
 
Letter to everyone:

Too much to write about in a short time. I got a new area, with a new
companion: Elder S. The area is called Odate, and is famous for a
breed of dog called Akita. They're all over Japan, but especially here
in Odate (and maybe the entire prefecture).
 
I had the hardest week ever in terms of work goes, but as I continued
to push myself to do that which God wanted me to, I saw many
blessings. Odate is a great city!
 
My scripture of the week is a scripture mastery from the Old
Testamant, but for time's sake, I am not going to attach it.
 
Kanji of the week is: 大館 pronounced "oh-dah-te" and is the name of the
city where I am serving now. It literally means big mansion.
 
For time's sake, I am not including a play by play, but I want you all
to know that God lives and that he is active in this work. He gives to
those who seek and keep is commandments.
 
Love you all!
 
Love,
Elder 
The pie and the Polaroid pic in the next pic are going away gifts from a recent convert before Alex left Aizu.




 
 He had a good time visiting a glass museum and took LOTS of pics. I was glad to see 
that he went to a museum and the lake or whatever those other beautiful photos are of since his p-days 
are often just shopping and stay at home. 




Monday, May 9, 2016

Transfer to Odate

Alex didn't send a mass email yesterday since we had a Skype call. 

He looked great and it was fun to talk with him, even though it was the shortest Skype call we've had with him the whole time he's been gone. It was just half an hour. It's our last Skype call before he comes home at the end of October. 
I thought we would have more time so I was waiting to take more pics toward the end, but this is the only good one I got when I snapped a few quickly at the beginning. 

He mentioned that he's transferring to Odate, back up north. There are very few Melchizedek priesthood holders in the branch there so the missionaries are in the branch presidency. Since he didn't send any photos, I found some online of this new area. 

There is a museum dedicated to the Akita dog, considered a national treasure according to things I read. There are many dog statues around the town and the man hole covers have a dog on them.

Then there's this dome that was built so that the heavy snows and strong rains would not disturb their baseball games and other events held inside.

Below is just a train station.
 And it looks like there are many public baths and spas in Odate.
I hope he sends some photos of his area next week.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Truth and Gravity

Gravity is there whether you like it or not. If you try to go against
it, it hurts. If you know the rules of gravity, you can do amazing
things, like acrobatics, or lunar landings. The same is with spiritual
truths. When we go against eternal truths, it hurts, which we call
guilt. That pain doesn't go away until you align yourself with truth.
Once you know the rules, you too, can do much more than you ever could
imagine.

My scripture of the week is Mosiah 24:15 "And now it came to pass that
the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made
light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their
burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to
all the will of the Lord."
Alex didn't send any photos this time so I found two online of the area where he is

Kanji of the week is: 磁石 pronounced "Jee-shock" and means magnet.

Monday was good, but not too much to write about in the day time. At
night we visited a less active that was really receptive to the
message that we had to share with him, and it was so awesome to see
the Spirit work in him and see him want to change.

Tuesday was a lot of finding, but not much luck. We also had a lesson
with our recent convert. It was good, because we learned a lot about
his conversion story. We didn't have anything else happen after that.

Wednesday we went and biked far away. It was really good, because we
found a less active that was really nice, and that listened to us. He
hasn't come to church in a long time, and didn't know where the new
church building was. Hopefully he starts coming again. English class
was fun.

Thursday was weekly, and after that we did more finding, but not much
else happened according to my remembrance.

Friday was Zone Training Meeting, and we had a great time there. It
was very spiritual, and I was glad that we could learn from great
leaders and missionaries. Then we went back to Aizu and it rained for
a long time. Not much else happened.

Saturday was splits with Elder Mathews. It was fun, although not too
much happened. We did get some good conversations with people on the
street though. Our lesson in the evening with our recent convert was
great, especially because we had a member come and fellowship him.

Sunday was great, and I always love learning about the Gospel and
about Jesus. It was a good day, and we ran into a nice man while
housing. A lot of time went to district leader things.

That's my week. I hope that you all had and will have good weeks! Love you all!

Love,

Elder 
長老

Friday, April 29, 2016

Utah Local: Route 67 Tex-Mex

My neighbor Kim posted about this brand new restaurant owned by someone in her family so I was in a hurry to go try it out for 3 reasons. 1. I wanted some good food! 2. I like to support local business. 3. I wanted to share it with everyone on Facebook and on my blog. So I was glad to actually enjoy their yummy food and be able to support them in my little way by being a customer.

BUT I have failed you all because I left my camera bag on my sofa so the only photos I have were taken with my phone. As you can see, the quality is not good. Hopefully I'll remember it next time and take some more. But I think you can still see the fresh ingredients and get hungry just looking at the tacos.

Route 67 Tex-Mex is in American Fork in a shopping strip at 456 E State Road Suite 1200, right at the intersection of 500 E. and State St. The front of the restaurant actually faces 500 E., not State, but it is set back a bit from the road. There is plenty of parking.






Before I went, I saw that the online MENU has descriptions of all the dishes, but it doesn't have prices so I wanted to snap some photos of the menu there with prices, but my photos of the menu were very blurry.

Besides the regular menu, they also have a featured item of the day which changes. Today was a South of the Border Burger with fries and a drink for $10.50.

The salads (that photo was too blurry to post) are available in half or full sizes, which I love because I have a small appetite.

Salads:
Steak        Half $7.95 Full $10.95
Chicken    Half $5.95 Full $8.95
Shrimp     Half $7.95 Full 10.95

They also had nachos on the menu, but I didn't get a pic of that so I don't know the price.

Unlike at some restaurants, they don't ask you if you'd like black or pinto beans. It's black. 

I went with my daughter Elisa and she and I usually share a dish, but we didn't this time so that we could try two things instead of just one. I ordered the steak tacos and Elisa ordered the chicken tacos (not street tacos) and we each swapped one of each with each other.



These are the Vino Tinto Pomegranate Steak Tacos just as they came out to the table. It's difficult to tell, but the tacos are smaller than most that I've had. Here is my daughter holding one so you can sorta, kinda see the size.

The steak was very tender and well seasoned. I loved the pomegranate pico on it. Yum! I don't often eat beef when I have a choice, but this time, I actually preferred the steak to the chicken tacos.

I didn't really taste pineapple in my taco, but it was good and I thought the use of kale on a taco was interesting and tasty.

I really like the unique combinations of flavors that I haven't seen in other restaurants. Next time I go, I will try the steak salad. Or maybe the pork tacos, even though I rarely eat pork. That chipotle mango is tempting me. And eventually the nachos! I guess I'll have to go back soon.

I know that running a restaurant is so, so, SO much work (from seeing my sister and brother-in-law when they had one), so go support Route 67 and eat good food and pass along the word to others!

And Route 67 is just a block away from The Puppy Barn so we stopped by there after lunch and played with some cute little puppies.